Leave A Legacy. London 2012
I had a bit of a Ben Ainslie moment yesterday. As the day progressed, drawing closer to the end of what has been a successful and inspiring Olympic games I noticed the naysayers making more frequent appearances on my Twitter timeline. People suddenly branding all PE teachers as bullies and stating how forcing children to do sports in schools is cruel. I got angry. I went for a run to try to shake it off but no use, I am still fuming slightly.
I know PE was hell for a lot of people. I used to regularly dip out of Netball by insisting I had a (made up) dance exam to rehearse for and skip off to the school hall with a cassette of Dee-Lite in my back pocket. But I took PE as one of my options because I was bizarrely brilliant at the bleep test, a decent swimmer, could Fosbury flop a decent height and was willing to Abseil off a cliff with no prior experience. I wasn’t the schools most gifted athlete by any means, no way near. I’ve been knocked out by a hockey ball and my sister put the living fear of Tennis in me by being overly competitive with swing ball. But I embraced it.
One of Team GB’s Gold medal winners, Helen Glover, is herself a former PE teacher and now a glittering, brilliant role model. Labelling all PE teachers as bullies based on your own experiences is not going to Inspire A Generation folks. Imprinting your own negative experiences on kids that are now dreaming of being able to run faster than Usain Bolt is not cool. Mo Farah himself gave high praise and thanks to his own PE teacher, Mr Watkinson, for spotting his potential and nurturing his talent. That could be your son, daughter, niece, nephew, sibling at schools sports day catching the eye of their teacher, a future Olympian. The Olympics will hopefully breed the next Jessica Ennis, Nicola Adams, Brownlee Brothers or Pete Chambers. And if they’re utterly useless at sports, mad suggestion I know, but they may still get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
It always seems to be sports that are the focus of this negativity. No one ever says the same about other subjects we learn at school. No one says it’s bad to make kids feel stupid about maths. I remember being crippled by my inability to grasp numbers at school, my brain would literally feel like it had clouded over. Whatever people are good at, be it chess, Bunsen burning stuff, throwing a huge stick, literature. I say let them love and enjoy it.
And let people be excited about what we have just witnessed during London 2012 before we shout it down. Let’s see if these games really can leave a legacy. ♥
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